|NBC Local TV Reported a March of 15,000 New York|
Posted by FoM on May 10, 1999 at 10:32:49 PT|
Source: Cures Not Wars
NBC local TV reported that a march of 15,000 went down Broadway to Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan. Cops had posted fake flyers with the Cures not Wars name and a pot leaf (! a very poor pot leaf, but nonetheless a recognizable pot leaf--a first for them...) sending many thousands from our designated assembly point (3rd st from La Guardia to Macdougal) prematurely down to Battery Park, so there were 4000 waiting there.
Apparently undercovers around Washington Square told them there would be free pot in Battery Park, and then told them the stage crew had it, setting off a mini-riot that turned over some scaffolding around 11:30 AM setting back our sound a full 45 minutes.
In addition, cops threatened to arrest monitors we left behind to direct folk from Washington Square at 2:30 pm, so the thousands that came afterwards stayed and had their own smokein in family day--1000 according to us, 5000 according to organizers of the family day counter-protest.
Rudy G. Was showing his force with a hugh presence of the NYC police, they were cop to cop alongside of us all the way a wall of blue. They forced us out of the wsp area about an hour early (12:10 pm, not 10 to 1pm), but the lead marshalls kept slowing the front of the march down so that people could catch up .
By the time we approached city hall, we had a full two lanes of b'way, with one little lane on the left the cars could barely get through. The march stretched from Franklin st. back to a police bus just south of spring st--but that wasn't the true "end", because it had a "tail"
The protest at City Hall was wonderful the crowd on it's own really hated Giuliani! The most impressive movment was when the march hit the park already as full as last year-- and our numbers momentarily peaked at 25,000, stretching all the way up from the soundstage to the northeasst corner of of battery park.
Unfortunately, although we had a permit for a full stage & sound system,..lots of speakers and bands, in the one major glitch of the day, full music was not up and running until 3:50 pm. The organizers were forced to run almost all their speakers between 2:20 pm and 3:45 pm., which caused some speaker fatigue amongst the crowd, who kept asking where's the free pot.
They would have been happy just to have music(!); but the cops' big Counter-Measure--trying to pre-empt the march and sabotage the soundstage--had been swamped by sheer turnout!
"All the pot was on the march!," We told them, since in fact everyone had already lit up ten blocks north, in front of city hall. For weeks we'd been telling everyone who called our hotline the safest place to fire up would be deep inside the crowd when the march was on the move, so people should have known the organizers would never give out free pot down "in the pen" formed by the black iron fences of battery park.
By the time Dana finished his introduction, and rob spoke, the "where's the free pot?" faction really gave gilbert baker of the la buyer's club a hard time. "Brother A" got up and gave them the facts of life: " there is no helicopter! The free pot is the pot you all bring with you. Watch your backs; undercovers are already in the crowd. And sure enough, before the first band could even play, they grabbed a few dozen people on the fringes, sending thousands streaming out of the park. It is actually amazing with all that cop power that only 102 folks out of the hugh crowd got busted. But this is 1999 and it is amazing that we even have to fight for the right to use marijuana after all this time.
That night we got coverage on CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, UPN, and WB 11, along with a three minute loop that ran for all weekend on NY-1. The Times missed the march altogether, mistaking the people waiting in Battery Park for the actual event. The best article, in the Daily News, plugged the actual date of the Millennium Marijuana March -- May 6, 2000 --and if taken together with Newsday, make one one pretty good article. In general, the coverage focused on medical marijuana, avoiding the IOM Report rejection of a "gateway effect" and our claim that cannabis is in fact anti-addictive, more like ayahuasca or the addiction interrupter Ibogaine than cocaine, heroin and other hard drugs.